Under A Tuscan Sonoma Sun
When Lorenzo Petroni, the famed restauranteur of the iconic North Beach Restaurant in San Francisco first visited the secluded property in the Spring of 1992, he knew he could replicate the beauty of his native Tuscany right there on a mountainside in Sonoma. After a walk of the hilltop estate and a hand-shake, the property was his and the clearing of the land began soon after. The vineyard terraces took shape using volcanic rocks found on the property and grape cuttings from Montalcino, Italy were flown in along with 1,200 olive trees, creating a 37-acre retreat from which Lorenzo could realize his dream of being the first California vintner to grow the famed Tuscan clone ‘Sangiovese Grosso’ in Sonoma soil. The first commercially sold vintage was released in 1998 as Brunello di Sonoma and although the name has since changed to Poggio alla Pietra (Hill of Rocks), the 100% Sangiovese Grosso-based bottling still sits at the helm of their boutique collection of wines today. Laden with complex savory and gamey characteristics, the classic Brunello-esque notes of red cherry, sour cherry and plum in this wine are achieved through hand-farming the steep terraces using only organic methods. As done in each of their vineyard blocks, every vine is carefully pruned for optimum crop yield to ensure the ripe and concentrated fruit produces a rich and evenly textured body where dry, fine tannins prevail. The commitment Lorenzo made all those years ago to follow the stringent Brunello classification in the making of this wine (minimum 2 years in oak and at least 3 years in bottle) is still in practice today, but it’s Winemaker Martin Mackenzie’s skill and overarching approach of “less is more” which has helped the vineyard rise in the rankings with an impressive 13 wines scoring 90+ points in Parker’s Wine Advocate. And Petroni Vineyards has now broadened its repertoire of varietals to focus on micro-productions of Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah and mountain-style Cabernet Sauvignon, which, earlier this year, garnered critical acclaim by winning a Double Gold from the San Francisco Chronicle International Wine Competition.
“It’s through our inspirational storytelling, exceptional hospitality and knowledgeable wine hosts that we create a lasting and memorable connection with every guest who visits the estate. Our style of wine tasting is a tribute to the warm and gracious hospitality Lorenzo perfected… making each person to his “vineyard home” if you will, feel welcome and special.” Jeffery Forestier, General Manager, Petroni Vineyards
Luxury Food and Wine Pairings Underground
The Italian philosophy of where there is food and wine, there are friends embodied in Lorenzo’s restaurant has also become a pillar of the winery’s hospitality program in the massive underground cave. Nestled in 18,000 square feet, directly under the hillside vineyard, the elaborate network of private niches chiseled out of the cave walls play host to an array of luxe wine and culinary tastings like no other. The winery is open by appointment only and their wines are not distributed so each guest visiting the property has the opportunity to purchase the small-lot bottlings while receiving an intimate, high-touch tasting experience through a series of guided tastings.
For the serious foodie, a decadent 3-Course or 5-Course Food and Wine Pairing is offered by appointment at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., Thursday, Friday and Saturday in one of the private alcoves of the cave. The series of small bites expertly highlights their white and red wines like the Spinach and Crab Dumpling with Saffron Beurre Blanc paired with Estate Sauvignon Blanc or the Foie Gras and Wild Mushroom Tortellini partnered with the Rosso di Sonoma Sangiovese blend. The fine dining caliber of both pairing menus created by their in-house chef changes seasonally to incorporate produce from their garden along with meats and cheeses from neighboring ranches for a full sensory exploration of Petroni Vineyard’s award-winning, hand-crafted wines and Sonoma’s agricultural bounty. [$95 & $195/psn, 90 & 120 min.]
For those wishing for a wine tasting sans food, opt for the Vault Tasting which is conducted in an old bank vault Lorenzo installed while the cave was being built. The Vault maintains a small allocation of every vintage produced from 1998 to present and features three select wines from the library vault along with their estate olive oil. [$85/psn, 90 min]
To reserve a tasting experience, call (707) 935-8311 or email email@example.com and visit their website at petronivineyards.com for a full listing of all tasting experiences.
Petroni Vineyards Wine Club
Each of the hand-selected offerings in the varying levels of membership ensures you will receive only the wines you like to drink and share with friends and family. Shipped three times per year, Members can choose from an all-reds collection, red and white wines combined, or customize a shipment to your taste with just your favorite wines. Members may also enhance any shipment with additional wines or the estate extra virgin olive oil. To join, contact the Wine Cub at firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t Miss! Estate Wine Tasting
$45 per person | 90 minutes
By Appointment Only
This tasting of the estate wines includes Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Rosso di Sonoma and Brunello-style Sangiovese as well as the estate organically farmed Olive Oil.